By: Lauren Landish

“Great turnout!” Nathan crows, loving the flow of people still coming through the doors. It’s fun, and best of all, authentic.

“It is,” I murmur. I have to say even I’m impressed. “It’s a weight off my chest . . .”

My voice trails off as I see her walk in. She stands out in the crowd of mostly whites and blacks in a fire engine red dress that hugs her body like it was custom made for her. Long brown hair frames her angelic face, and while I’m too far away to see her eyes, her lips are perfect. The way her cheekbones are shaped, she looks like . . . “An Angel.”

“What?” Nathan asks, but I barely hear him as I watch her breathlessly. She goes over to the bar with a girl who’s obviously her friend or wingman, and a thread of anger courses through my head as I see some guy come up on her. I grip my glass harder as I see him laying on the moves, even though she doesn’t seem too into it.

Nathan waves his hand in front of my face. “Yo, Jake, are you listening to me?”

I blink rapidly, shaking my head as I turn back to him. “Huh?”

“I said this place is going to change our lives.”

“Hold that thought,” I say, my eyes and my mind on one thing only. I toss back the rest of my glass and get to my feet, heading for the stairs. As I leave the VIP area, I’m not thinking about Nathan, or money, or even how well our grand opening is going to turn out tonight. All I can see is the angel in a red dress.

Chapter 3


“So, how about we go back to my place?” the guy asks for the second time. Is ‘no thanks’ somehow going to change in three minutes?

I try to hold back my annoyed scowl. Go back to his place? I’m about ready to splash my untouched beer in his fucking face. I’ve turned him down for a dance. He’s not that bad-looking. I’m sure he could find some girl in here, even with his creepy ass vibe. Why the fuck’s he still here with me?

I look around and see that Hannah’s deserted me. I can see her over on the dance floor, twerking her ass up against some cute dude. I’m certain he’s about five minutes from blowing a load in his slacks with the way she’s moving.

I look back over just in time to see Dr. Strangelove pushing the bottle closer to me, like he’s trying to remind me that it’s there and force me to drink it, but he’s gotta learn that there’s a lot of scrap in this little body. “Drink up,” he says.

That’s it. I just can't with this guy.

I open my mouth to finally tell the guy to fuck off. I’ve been overly polite and have made it perfectly clear that I don’t want what he’s selling. But before the words can leave my lips, a penetrating voice behind me speaks up. “Everything okay, Angel? Sorry I’m late. I was busy upstairs.”

I spin in my seat to get a look at the voice and my heart stops. Seriously, I might need a defibrillator to get it back beating again as the breath leaves my lungs. I take in the purest blue eyes I’ve ever seen under dark hair that glimmers and sparkles as the lights of the club catch deep within it. His chiseled jawline frames a sensual mouth, and it’s hard to pull my eyes away from his gaze and take the rest of him in.

He’s tall and broad-shouldered, his custom-tailored suit fitting him perfectly.

Fuck being a heartthrob. He’s a heartstopper. That’s what this guy is.

My mouth opens like a fish, but Mr. Heartstopper winks at me and I’m able to brush off my momentary shock enough to play along. “No, honey, I was just having him warm your seat for you until you got back from that little curb stomp appointment.” I flash a smile, not letting the nervousness I feel flicker through. I turn and give Dr. Strangelove a pointed look. “Does that guy still have all of his front teeth?”

My former creepy-ass suitor scowls, and for a moment, I fear he’s about ready to fight for his seat. But when Mr. Heartstopper gives him a hard look, he gets up from his seat, mumbles something, and disappears in the crowd.

Relief flows through me and some of the tension leaves my body when I can’t see his face anymore. The music thrums, mixing with my heartbeat as I look at my savior, and I feel like this night’s going to change my life. The stage is almost prepared for the main act, a rock band that’s hot on the charts and has a fresh sound. I’ve been looking forward to it, but now I have another sweet distraction.

Trying to shake off my anxiety, I poke the guy playfully in the chest. “You got a blue leotard under there?”

He arches an eyebrow at me, confused but with a grin on his face. Fuck, he’s hot. “No, why?”